How to choose your first vape kit
So, you have made the ultimate decision to throw those cigarettes in the trash bin and give this “vaping thing” a try, now what?
Before choosing your very first vape, it is important to understand your own, individual needs. If you are a heavy smoker, chances are that you will require battery life and a higher nicotine level than the average person. If you are a social smoker, nicotine may not be your main focus therefore your choice in devices may be quite flexible.
Although there is an overwhelming amount of vape devices out on the market, do not fear, I have grouped them into 3 simple categories that will help you better understand how each of them vary from one another.
MTL devices (mouth-to-lung)
MTL vapes are small, elegant and by far, the cheapest alternative out of the 3 categories.
Their low-power output contributes to a more “stealthy” vape experience with less vapor production. Which makes them great for using in a corporate environment where blowing massive, strawberry-scented clouds may be frowned upon.
These devices are best described by the type of airflow they provide, a mouth-to-lung style. They mimic the sensation of smoking a cigarette with a tight, semi-restrictive draw. This makes it a perfect match for someone with a life-time habit they are hoping to break.
Battery life is a great advantage for these nifty vapes. A full charge can last you anything between a whole day to 5 days depending on how often you use it and on average, they only require an hour (some 45 minutes) to charge completely.
Having one of these by your side will ensure that your cravings are always satisfied without flat batteries potentially destroying your hard-earned progress.
Maintenance on MTL devices is quite simple too. If you are looking at a pod system MTL, all you need to do is keep spare pods for your device. The better ones are refillable and can take between 4 – 6 refills on average which should be good for a week up to a month each.
The pen-style MTL devices take a replacement coil which needs to be replaced in the exact same time-frame as a pod system, and all you need to do is fill your tank with e-liquid when its running low.
Guess what, that’s not all! Aside from being user-friendly, easy on your pocket and a having great battery life, these little devices have another trick up their sleeve. While the average vapes use e-liquid with freebase nicotine, an MTL device has the versatile option to also use e-liquids containing Nicotine Salts.
What are Nicotine Salts?
Freebase nicotine carries a high alkaline level and therefore creates a harsh sensation in your throat in higher doses. Which is why the average vaper uses a 3-6 mg strength in regular devices.
Greater nicotine content can be a deal-breaker if your goal is to substitute your nicotine delivery system but the higher your dose becomes, the more uncomfortable you get. However you still don’t feel the nicotine hit in a way you are accustomed to.
Nicotine Salts solve this problem by having a much lower HP level from added benzoic acid which is designed for consumption in a low-powered device. This means that you can vape a 20-50 mg strength that is smoother and allows your body to absorb nicotine faster with a hit that is on par with conventional cigarettes.
Although Nicotine Salts are a bit more expensive than the average freebase nicotine e-liquid, it is well-worth it because juice consumption in low-powered devices is very good. You’ll find that e-liquid lasts you twice as long in your MTL compared to a high-powered device.
Here we get to the higher-powered devices which use a single internal or external battery. Usually, a single battery vape comes in the form of a kit, much like the MTL, but the main difference in this regard is that the tank can be separated from the device by means of a 510 connection.
There are a couple of these out on the market that still incorporate a fixed design where the tank cannot be removed from the body. However, as a vape shop owner, I see them quickly losing popularity among customers for lack of versatility.
The main advantage of being able to separate the tank from the device is that if and when your tank decides to retire from being dropped, worn-out or broken, you can easily replace it with another at a smaller fee, as opposed to buying an entirely new kit. Or just have the option to change between tanks whenever you feel like it, which is fun, we’ve all done it.
You probably wonder how a high-powered device differs from low-powered devices in general performance, right? You can’t use those high-strength Nicotine Salts, you go through e-liquid a little faster, the battery life is shorter, they’re slightly bulkier and a little more pricey. So why would someone choose one of these instead of a MTL?
Well, the main difference is airflow and flavor.
If you are the type of person who seeks to indulge in the tastes of whipped cream atop those succulent peaches, layered with a dash of caramel with a side of crunchy biscuits, then this is the type of device for you.
A low-powered device generally puts out between 8-18 Watts which doesn’t tap into the full potential that a good bottle of premium e-liquid has to offer. However a single-battery vape usually reaches anything between 60-80 Watts of power which allows you to experience better taste in every bottle of juice.
For a lot of people, good flavor quickly replaces the stale taste of cigarettes and has been the saving grace for most ex-smokers who used vaping to quit smoking entirely.
Just in-case you’re leaning towards the option of good flavor as opposed to high nicotine content but you know that this device will be stuck to your hand like hot-glue for the next few months, there is a simple work-around when it comes to battery life. Get a device that takes external batteries, invest in a charger and keep a spare battery around.
The start-up costs might be a little inconvenient when you compare it to buying a box of cigarettes. But after you have the right set-up in place, all you need is e-liquid and coils to replace once every other week, which can actually be cheaper.
Dual-battery vapes hold a major popularity status within the vaping community for 2 main reasons: better battery life and power performance.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you purchase a 220 Watt mod that you now have “the best in the West”. The difference is in their ability to utilize power efficiently for any type of atomizer you decide to pair your device with. Let me explain:
Your atomizer and coil play a massive role in providing the best flavor possible. If your tank is installed with coils which perform their best at 80 Watts, a single-battery vape might be able to power it, but not as efficiently as a device that shares the load between two batteries.
Take these two cars for instance, one that has a 1l engine and another that has a 1.6l turbo. They can both handle a 120km/h drive but which one will do it better?
This exact analogy can be used to describe the difference between power performance in single and dual-battery mods. Whereas, one is restricted to the type of coils it supports and the other has an abundance of performance variety.
Between the two types of high-powered devices, a dual battery mod is definitely a better choice if you plan on vaping regularly and get even better flavor. However with better performance, comes a higher price-tag.
There are quite a few devices out there that are sold as a kit just like single-battery devices. Which won’t be too bad on your pocket because commercial tanks in kits are significantly cheaper. Although, if you feel that a splurge on your health is in order, get yourself a dual mod and a separate rebuild-able atomizer.
I only recommend trying rebuild-able atomizers (RTA, RDA or RDTA) if your nearby vape shop can help you set it up and walk you through the learning curve. Unfortunately, some countries have forbidden stores in assisting customers with setting up their devices, in which case I recommend that you stick to a non-rebuild-able (commercial) tank until you are ready.
Tips when purchasing your first vape
Making sure that the store you’re purchasing from also stocks the replacement pods or coils for your chosen device is important.
One mistake that I constantly see is that people make split-second decisions to purchase devices from a random internet site or a fly-by-night tobacco store, who don’t know much about their products and therefore, do not carry replacement parts.
This becomes particularly frustrating because saving a few pennies on such devices usually results in purchasing an outdated model or a no-name brand with spares no longer available. So, after your coil or pod wears out, it becomes a sad little paper weight never to be used again.
Looking at the single battery devices, I will reference back to purchasing from unreliable stores. One thing in particular that makes me cringe is when customers walk into our store, big smiles on their faces, looking for help in setting up their brand-new device they’ve recently purchased. Only to find out that they were sold a mechanical mod!
There is a reason that I didn’t include mechanical devices as a fourth category.
A “mech” has no regulated chip set. It is a straight-forward, open circuit comprised of power and resistance and is only used by advanced vapers with knowledge of ohms law and battery safety. In the hands of a new vaper who is simply looking to quit smoking, not understanding what type of device he/she purchased, this could be highly dangerous.
Have you ever seen the media spreading news about vapes blowing up? This kind of situation is one of the main reasons. So make sure to purchase your vape supplies from a reputable vape shop.
When purchasing any device that takes external batteries, you will probably have to buy the batteries separately. Lithium Ion batteries are restricted in air-freight transportation, therefore most devices will not contain them in a kit unless the store sells the device in a bundle with batteries included.
If you intend to get yourself a charger and an extra set of batteries to carry throughout the day, also get yourself a battery case to keep them protected.
Check the battery size your new device requires, it is usually an 18650 but some do take variations. Keep in mind that vapes use high-drain batteries which are more expensive.
I personally use the Samsung 25R’s in my regulated devices. If your battery cost you as much as the set you got for your TV remote, they are more than likely incorrect and should not be used in your vape. EVER.
A reputable vape store will keep authentic external batteries that are right for your device.
You can’t go wrong when purchasing your vape from a good, dedicated store. Most of them will advise you on the right choice with sincerity and eagerness because chances are that they too, were in your shoes wanting to quit smoking or watched a family member take that first step.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions either! We love being able to help. I know that when a customer returns to us in a month’s time to share their progress with a smile on their face, it is all well worth it.